Album (and EP) Review: Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets — ‘Lay it on Me’ and ‘Walkabout’

Sometimes, when two great musical forces meet, the results can be disastrous, or at least unimpressive. I don’t count myself as a fan of the ill-advised Lou Reed and Metallica pairing, 2011’s Lulu. And when the sometimes warring factions of Yes got back together for Union, the resulting album was a forgettable, bloated, too-many-cooks affair.

Nick Lowe Still Has That Old Magic

Note: I saw Nick Lowe twice in concert last week: once at Asheville’s Grey Eagle, doing a full (solo acoustic) set with Chuck Prophet opening; and again the next night as part of the three-night Yep Roc 15 celebration in Carrboro (Chapel Hill) NC. As a run-up to both of these events, I interviewed Lowe

Album Review: Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition

Nick Lowe had a growing (if still somewhat underground) reputation in 1979. As a producer — mostly for Stiff Records — he had worked the boards on stunning a number of high-profile and successful albums, including ones for Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. Lowe had already made a name for himself as bassist

EP Review: Crooked Flower — Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light is a new EP from Berkeley, California quartet Crooked Flower. Released this week, the EP is the latest release from the group who scored both “Song of the Year” and “Concert of the Year” in 2015 on my friend and colleague Mike Lidskin’s influential Twirl Radio. “Moving On” starts off with a

Lowe’s Straitjackets

Though he’s known primarily for his 1979 hit single “Cruel to Be Kind,” singer-songwriter Nick Lowe is a revered figure in rock and pop music. A key figure in the British punk and new wave scenes of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Lowe has since turned his own music in a more low-key direction.

Never Had It Better: A Chat with James Lowe of The Electric Prunes (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: In 2012 I wrote a blog entry in which I suggested that Syd Barrett may have – consciously or otherwise – nicked the intro of “Are You Lovin’ Me More (But Enjoying It Less)” for Pink Floyd‘s “Astronomy Dominé.” The two are too similar for it to be coincidence,

Album Review: Nick Curran – Reform School Girl

Five seconds in, the listener will know that on Reform School Girl, Nick Curran means business. True, many artists have made careers out of reviving style of old — Brian Setzer immediately comes to mind — but Nick Curran is no dilettante. He means f**king business on Reform School Girls. “Tough Lover” features distorted vocals,

Album Review: Sorrows – Love Too Late…the real album

Here’s a record with a helluva story. After making an excellent melodic rock album in 1980’s Teeenage Heartbreak, Sorrows (no “the”) went to England to record their second LP with expat producer Shel Talmy producing. Apparently no one involved was happy with the results, and the resulting release, Love Too Late, sank without a trace.

Matthew Sweet: 10 Albums That Changed My Life

This feature appeared previously in Goldmine Magazine. Matthew Sweet’s winning combination of alternative rock textures and classic pop values and helped propel 1991’s Girlfriend and 100% Fun (1995) to Gold status. Irresistible songs like “I’ve Been Waiting,” “The Ugly Truth” and “Sick of Myself” are part of a long string of records that showcase his

Album Review: John Magnuson – Barely Noticeable

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I take notice: every now and then, one or another friend sends me an album with a Post-it affixed, sporting a message along the lines of, “You need to hear this.” It happened recently with the new album from John Magnuson. Living as I do in Western